And all I have to say is: it’s about freakin time.
and gentlemen, it has begun. We have made significant progress in our seemingly eternal quest to build a house.
Well, sort of.
We still don’t have a foundation. We don’t even have building permits. Probably won’t for two more months.
But we have appliances. And bathroom tile. And flooring. And a front door. And plumbing fixtures. And the most awesome outdoor grill with a pretty awesome story to tell to our grandkids. Or anyone else who will listen.
(including you. Hope you’re comfortably settled in.)
So sometime last year, Michael had planned to go back to Vietnam during the first week in January with one of the docs in his practice and a handful of others to teach a conference at the National Institute of Ophthalmology in Hanoi. He was pretty psyched about it, and he blocked off his clinic days (which you have to do months and months in advance when you’re a doctor because his clinic fills up 6 months out with follow-up visits). Some time later, the other docs that had planned to go with him started dropping like flies.
(Not that they died or anything. They just kept coming up with reasons not to go and backing out of the trip.)
So the trip was postponed. Bummer. But he still had the clinic days blocked off. He decided to open up two clinic days and still take off the remaining three. And seeing as we thought we would have, y’know, WALLS by this time, we talked to the builder’s decorator and decided to use those days to run a house selection marathon since Michael 1) has limited time off and 2) has an opinion.
Oooh, nelly, does he have an opinion. And would like to have a say in what our kitchen faucet looks like.
(Actually, it’s more like he has an opinion on how much our kitchen faucet COSTS.)
We have not-one-but-two AMAZINGLY talented designers who are so creative and knowledgeable and sweet, and they both met us on two of the three days to hammer out some of the little custom details that will transform our new house into a dream home.
Day One: Tile and Flooring
It’s not just looking at a book of samples, pointing to one, and saying “OK, that one.” Oh-ho-ho-no. Three and a half hours later, we have a stack of sketches with a wide variety of tile configurations and patterns and accents and all kinds of delicious yumminess. We have travertine and porcelain and natural stone and slate and glass & stone mosaics and metal accents. Who knew there were so many different ways to tile a bathroom? We have a general idea of what our wood floors will look like (and who knew wood floors could have an accent herringbone area?), but we won’t decide on the exact shade of stain until they’re ready to scrape ‘em. We didn’t even get to the carpet.
All in all, a very successful day.
Day Two: Appliances
Number One item not on my agenda for the House Selection Marathon: School Cancellations.
Good grief, some people are so skittish when it comes to ice.
(Not that I blame them. But I’d prefer ice and subzero windchills on days when I DON’T have an agenda.)
Thankfully we have a great sitter who didn’t mind coming over four hours early, so we postponed our appointment at the appliance distributor showroom for a few hours to allow for melting of the ice and clearing of the traffic. We didn’t really know what to expect, but when we got there, we walked into a kitchen wonderland. Every possible kind of kitchen appliance as far as the eye could see, in every shape, color, and price range you could ever imagine.
Glory hallelujah our consultant knew our budgeted allowance and our floor plan, which automatically narrowed our choices to a manageable amount. Two hours later, we walked out with a list of our chosen kitchen appliances, which are fancier than we had thought they would be, and an estimated dollar amount $2500 less than what we had budgeted.
In my world, that means we have $2500 to spend somewhere else. In Michael’s world, that means we have $2500 less to give the bank. This, I predict, will continue to be a disturbing trend over the next 9+ months. Mark my words.
Front Door and Plumbing Fixtures…and The Story Of The Grill
Meghan competed in the school spelling bee that morning, so our sitter came early for Nathan, and Michael and I both got to go watch her, which was pretty cool in itself because Michael never gets to go to school events like this. Unfortunately, Meghan got nervous and choked on the first word, which was awful and one of those horrible learning experiences that you hate to happen to your kid. If only they would have had a practice round… but whatcanyado.
So after one of her best friends got 2nd place and we convinced Meghan to go back to her class and finish out the school day when the spelling bee was over, we left the school with a little over an hour to kill before our front door appointment. I was all for going to Starbucks – what with my newfound affection for coffee and all – which Michael thought was an OK idea, but first he wanted to swing by Home Depot to look at outdoor grills. The grill is included in our appliance allowance, but even the appliance lady advised us not to get one through the appliance place because they were so overpriced, and common knowledge had told us we could get a much better deal at a Home Depot-type place.
So we looked around
Man World Home Depot, didn’t find anything that would work, drove down the street to Loew’s, browsed around the patio furniture, walked through the grills, and found a sweet little thang working there and asked her about the grills.
Here’s where it starts getting really good.
We had heard that Loew’s had this great little secret and carried a Jenn-Air grill that was not actually a Jenn-Air grill. (Just so you know – cause I didn’t until recently – Jenn-Air is a pretty fancy, top-of-the-line, top-of-the-price-range name brand.) Loew’s used to carry the Jenn-Air grills, but someone had Jenn-Air got his panties in a wad and didn’t want to Loew’s to sell their grills anymore, so somebody else took off the Jenn-Air nameplate and slapped another name on it and continued to sell this primo piece of manliness. Same grill, different name, lower price.
So we asked Ms. Sweetness about this particular grill. She knew exactly what we were talking about, went to her computer, couldn’t find it, called somebody…blah, blah, blah…until they figured out the situation.
Now keep in mind that we are $2500 under our appliance budget and we were told to earmark about $800-$1000 for a grill.
(I know. There better be some really juicy steaks coming off that bad boy.)
Ms. Sweetness did a double-take and proclaimed that they did have one (ONE!) said grill in stock, and it was on sale for the low-low price of $399.
Three hundred ninety-nine dollars. Three. Nine. Nine.
Not One Zero Zero Zero.
So now we have a big box with a big grill in the back of our garage, just waiting for its new home. Which at this rate, could be sometime between September and Meghan’s high school graduation.
But we are just a little awe-struck at how God is taking care of us. And getting us a most awesome specimen of grilling manliness. Good gifts. Very good gifts.
Okay, I’m trying my own patience with this very long post, and I’ve been working on it for three days, so I’m going to wrap it up, let you rest your weary eyes, and continue it tomorrow…or the next day, or the next. Whenever. I’ll tell you all about the front door and the plumbing fixtures later, because I know you’re just on the edge of your seat dying to know. I know I would be if some strange woman were blabbing on and on about faucets and kitchen sinks and shower heads. Pretty exciting stuff.